January 13, 2012

Inner Workings

Musee d'Orsay, Paris, November 2011

Fiberglass books, dancing books, and moving gears. It's all been on my mind in the past few days. I love when overlapping experiences merge in these synchronistic snaps. I think it started with a recent viewing of Hugo which prompted me to re-visit the book and study those illustrations that captivated me so much the first time I read it. 

I have to admit to being a bit nervous about watching Hugo. It's hard to see beloved books twisted and morphed into screen productions that just never have the same magic as the original source of inspiration. That's why it was such a relief and a delight to discover that Hugo, the movie, was it's own wonderful creation. I still love the book best, but I was entranced by the elaborate settings and the old movie connections that were brought to life. If you were also enchanted by all of the gears and towering books, be sure to read this recent NY Times piece about the making of the movie. 

I am always interested in seeing how things get created and this glimpse at the set design ultimately brought me back to an aspect of Selznick's work that I love: his notes at the end of each book. Reading his notes is essentially the process of peeking into his inner workings as an author. The sparks of initial interest, the tangled layers of research and collaboration, and the journey of putting it all together. I love that he shares these details with the reader because it adds even more depth to the experience. (By the way, Wonderstruck, his newest book is also a great read including the notes at the end). 

And then while sifting through photos from our trip to Paris back in November, I stumbled upon a series of shots I took at Musee d'Orsay. An old train station that is now a beautiful museum (you can read about that transition here). I had somehow forgotten about that dramatic experience of viewing Paris through the old station clock. Like Hugo, peering out while also working within. But really the most joyful "behind the scenes" book experience is a sweet little video which some of my favorite book reading friends sent me earlier today (Thanks, Jess and Betsey). After watching The Joy of Books, it's hard not to pick up a book, and that's exactly what I plan to do right now. Hope your weekend includes some good books, too!

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